The Public Hall is managed by Witham Public Hall Trust, a charitable company limited by guarantee which was formed in 2010 in response to Braintree District Council’s intention to outsource the running of all its halls.
The hall is operated on a day-to-day basis by a management committee who are responsible to a Board of Directors. As a charitable company membership of the Board is open to any local resident who expresses an interest and who is elected by a majority of the members at a General Meeting.
Membership of the Trust falls into two camps; groups and private.
Group Membership costs £200 a year and is available to any local organisation that uses the hall and gives them certain benefits in terms of hire rates, early bookings etc. Private Membership costs £25 a year and is open to any individual that lives in the CM8 post-code area. In return for their subscription they receive discounts on tickets for certain events, early booking rights and, of course, the chance to attend and vote at General Meetings of Witham Public Hall Trust.
If you would like to get more involved with the Public Hall, either as a director or just helping out at the many events we organise send your details to us at Info@WithamPublicHall.co.uk.
The Public Hall was opened in March 1894 by Lord Rayleigh in his capacity as the Lord-Lieutenant of Essex. It cost £2,500 to build and the money was raised largely through public subscription by the Witham Public Hall Company. The directors of the company included many local dignitaries, among them Admiral Luard and the Honourable C H Strutt.
In 1933 the hall was purchased by the then Witham Urban District Council who undertook a range of major improvements, including a new balcony, an orchestra pit, electric lighting (to replace the gas lighting previously installed) and a new iron fire escape.
In 1960 a new dance floor was installed and the Witham Council considered asking hirers to provide plastic caps to fit to stilleto-heeled shoes to avoid damaging it. At this time a new kitchen was also built, along with an extension to provide a bar area.
On 16 September 2011 the Witham Public Hall Trust signed a 25 year lease to run the hall, the first time it wouldn't be run by a local authority for nearly 80 years.